I love Champagne. In truth, this wasn't always the case. Early in my experience Champagne felt like a yeasty, fizzy beverage, lean and slightly sour. Of course I knew that I was supposed to love it, after all Champagne was billed as the height of luxury. As I got to taste more wines my palate grew and I grew to respect and like Champagne, but the love wasn't there yet.
That all changed about 15 years ago when I started tasting some Champagnes that were very "wine like." These acted very much like wines rather than the sour, sparkling stuff that was my previous frame of reference. They had identifiable fruit and non-fruit flavors and were expressive with incredible complexity. Bottles from different producers had unique profiles and they were excellent at the table.
What I was tasting back then is what we now refer to as "Grower Champagne." Instead of wines made by large companies who had purchased grapes these were wines made by the same people who farmed the vineyards and kept the grapes for their own production. Making Champagne is a costly and time consuming process. The specialized equipment and methods had always been the purview of the big Champagne brands. Now this was changing and it was a major revolution in France. Think of getting access to fresh tomatoes from a local farmer's garden.
This changed everything for me. These are the wines made me a Champagne lover and they are what we proudly offer at VWM. Is Champagne expensive? Let's get a little perspective. These are not cheap wines and they're not for everyday. Most bottles are in the $50-$60 range, very special wines and worth it. If you think about it that's not so bad, about the same price of a decent bottle at a restaurant. Instead of going out for sushi, get it to go and pair it with one of these beauties!